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Funding for EPIC Returns, Briefly

Prescription copays subsidized January through March

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Lobbying got results

May was not alone. The cuts triggered a rigorous lobbying effort by AARP New York volunteers and other organizations.

In March state legislators announced that funding for EPIC would be restored on Jan. 1.

Cuomo hasn't indicated whether he will ask for EPIC cuts for the fiscal year that begins April 1 or support fully funding the program.

The temporarily restored EPIC program has two plans, as it did in 2011 before the cuts: a fee plan and a deductible-only plan.

The fee plan is for people with incomes up to $20,000 (for singles) or $26,000 (couples). Its annual fee of $8 to $300 is based on a sliding scale, depending on income.

The deductible plan is for people with incomes ranging from $20,001 to $35,000 (singles) or $26,001 to $50,000 (couples). This plan requires meeting a deductible based on income before EPIC benefits start.

All EPIC members must be enrolled in a Medicare Part D drug plan, which is still the primary drug coverage. After EPIC deductibles are met, participants will receive help through EPIC as secondary coverage and will pay drug copays of $3 to $20.

Winnie Yu is a writer living in Vorheesville, N.Y.

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With Medicare facing serious financial trouble, how will the program continue to care for the nation's elderly and disabled?

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